‘Every Time Father Larry Dies’

Bergson’s idea that there is an “absence of feeling which usually accompanies laughter” (4) seems to peripherally apply to the compilation of clips taken from ‘Father Ted’ called ‘Every Time Father Larry Dies’. Father Larry’s deaths are a recurring gag within the series that almost always results in Larry’s death. The gag always begins with Ted wondering what ‘Larry’s up to’ and gives him a call. Whether he is skiing, driving or has his hands up at gunpoint he always reaches for his phone and subsequently falls off of a cliff or is shot, amongst other scenarios.

An ‘absence of feeling’ (4) is clearly there as the viewer chuckles at Larry being shot, stabbed or falling from a great height. This absence of feeling’ (4) could be partly due to a suspension of our own reality, accepting and expecting the momentary chaos pothole within the narrative. Larry is inconsequential to the narrative, his function is to die multiple times and to be resurrected in time for the next call. In this example it is a touch easier to lack empathy for Father Larry as he is not an established character.    


clip link –    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tEvQMyBFho


Bergson, Henri. Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (London: Macmillan, 1911)

One comment

  1. I think this is a convincing example of comedy relying on an absence of profound empathy! At least for certain comic situations, since my brainscope refuses to cover all possible comic instances. Another example this is making me think of is Deadpool: the opening fight sequence is full of comic elements and also acts of extreme violence, but the viewer’s attention is not directed to anything that would make them emapthise with the victims of this violence; I doubt that if the viewer empathised with, for instance, random victims of car crashing that the fight causes, Daedpool would come across as equally funny. Yeehaw.

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